Three posts in one week – can you believe it?! I mean, it is November after all. Things have shifted here on Nantucket. It’s like one day it took me fifteen minutes to drive to work, and the next day, it took eight (I know, I know, what are you complaining about? says everyone who lives more than a mile and a half away from the office).
Speaking of commutes, my lack of one for the past couple of years has made me a little late to this whole podcast game. I’m sure the rest of you have been entertained by this medium for years, but I’m here now and I’m kind of obsessed. Since my lack of car travel has really limited the amount of time for me to catch up on podcasts, I find myself listening instead when I’m doing, shall we say, “brainless” tasks at my cubicle or at home, like editing photos or creating ads.
There’s something about listening to podcasts that feel more productive than watching television, despite the fact that I am in no way contributing to the conversation. It seems like everyone and their mother has a podcast now, from Real Housewives to bloggers, so weeding through the ocean of content can be overwhelming. I know that most of the ones I’ve found that I enjoy have been through the recommendations of others (i.e. people I don’t know on the internet), so I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites here:
Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown with Casey Wilson & Danielle Schneider
I have already written once about my love for Bitch Sesh because I seriously can’t get enough of this show. You’ll never believe it, but I actually really didn’t watch the Real Housewives that much before I went all in on this podcast. Now I watch all of the seasons all the time because I want to know exactly what they’re talking about. Even if you don’t watch any Bravo shows at all, Casey and Danielle are so hysterical that listening to it almost makes me sad because I wish I were friends with them. Like I want to get into the Nook SO BAD (if you listen to the show, you will understand that reference). This show has taken on a life of it’s own, now with a very active Facebook group populated by the “Whispering Alenes.” Seriously, it’s not just a podcast, it’s a lifestyle.
Sometimes you need something to balance out all of the reality show weave-pulling, and that’s when I turn to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. I’ll be the first to admit, I never listen to NPR. I’m sorry, I know I could stand to add a little more intelligent content into my life, but frankly, I just find everyone on there so boring. And if we’re being honest, I only found this when I was searching for other pop culture-related podcasts during the Olympics hiatus on Bravo when there weren’t new episodes of Bitch Sesh (#sorrynotsorry). I do sometimes find the hosts to be thismuch pretentious, especially when they talk about stuff they deem unworthy but is universally enjoyed by the masses, like romantic comedies. But it is nice to get another perspective on a subject that I devote a large portion of my attention span too, and to feel a little bit smarter after doing so.
The mother podcast of all podcasts. Often imitated but never duplicated, Serial is definitely old news by now. I just had to include it because if you live under a rock and still have not listened to season 1, do it. Seriously, haven’t you been left out of dinner party conversations long enough? Even though it debuted in late 2014, the story of Adnan Syed has been eeking it’s way back into the news lately as a judge has granted him a new trial. Who knows where this will go, but it doesn’t change the facts: this podcast is one of the most compelling stories you will ever listen to. I feel like I need to go back and hear it all again, as there’s so many details that I’ve forgotten about. While the second season was not nearly as well-received I still thought it was very interesting and I listened to every single episode with the same fervor that I did season 1. It’s a completely different type of story, but Sarah Koenig’s devotion to examining all the little details of these cases is mesmerizing (and frankly, intimidating. I mean I can barely figure out how to call Harvard Pilgrim when I have a question on a medical bill). Plus if nothing else, it will give this sketch context for you – worth diving into the entire first season alone.
I have a love/hate relationship with this podcast. I loved Casey and Danielle’s dynamic so much, I was in search of other funny ladies with an affinity for pop culture and social media stalking. I had heard good things about these girls and their show, so I gave it a listen. I have to say, I don’t care much for the hosts. They all have something to do with the entertainment industry, but the one you may be the most familiar with is Becca Tobin, who played Kitty on the later seasons of Glee and was my least favorite character on that show of all time (and that’s saying something – remember Terry?!). The thing that keeps me listening to certain episodes are the guests. They’ve had everyone from fellow Gleeks Lea Michele and Darren Criss, to reality “stars” from Bravo and E!. I feel like the line between witty snark and straight up bitchiness is a fine one, and they usually end up straddling the latter.
For a while, this was one of the only podcasts I listened to, mainly because I heard about it from bloggers that were going to be making an appearance. This is another one where I find the host Jess Lively slightly irritating (I know it’s her business but I don’t know if I can hear the words “value-based intentions” one more time), but I really loved the first couple of seasons. She has had on some of the biggest names in blogging out there, and it was so interesting for me to not only hear how they started their blogs, but how many of them turned them into full-time businesses (plus how crazy is it to hear blogger’s actual voices and how different they sound than what you had anticipated?). If you’re a blogger or a small business owner, there’s a lot of aspirational wisdom here from people that took chances on their ideas. Careful – sometimes it’s enough to make you want to quit your job and start a new life.
If you’re a millennial with a basic knowledge of social media, you are most likely familiar with the Betches. They’ve got a snarky Instagram account turned snarky advices books and now – what else? A snarky podcast. Listening to Jordana Abraham, Samantha Fishbein, and Aleen Kuperman chat about what’s going on this week is kind of like being invited to sit at the popular girl’s lunch table in high school. Like you want to know what they’re talking about but when you do, you also can’t help but think that they might be some of the world’s worst human beings. They have taught me many terms that apparently the younger mils are using and spent half an episode debating whether or not Drake was too nice to ever get with Rihanna. So clearly, you’re not coming here to be enlightened, but it is kind of a fun escape… for a little bit. Mean Girls fans will not be disappointed based solely on the amount of times they quote the film’s best-loved lines (not to mention they created this, which is quite possibly one of my favorite internet articles of all time).
I would ask for suggestions for new podcasts to listen to, but so far these take up quite a bit of my time and I’m imagining that you will all tell me to raise the bar a little bit. So instead, I’ll leave you with this – my friend and fellow celeb aficionado Bowen and I have actually taken a stab at the podcast game ourselves. In case this blog didn’t already fulfill your desire to hear my every thought on the most pressing issues facing us today, check out Coast 2 Coast, our take on the latest happenings in pop culture from the East (me) and the West (Bowen in L.A.). And yes, we do sometimes go off on a tangent about a Kardashian or two, but we always find our way back to the important stuff. Like T. Swift.
Images via iTunes.